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Specialized Driving Privileges

Northwest Indiana Specialized Driving Privileges Attorney

The BMV or a court may suspend your driving privileges for a number of different reasons. This could spell disaster if you depend on your driving privileges for important matters. Fortunately, under certain circumstances, state law (IC 9-30-16) authorizes an “Indiana hardship license,” otherwise known as probationary privileges, specialized driving permits, or (more formally), specialized driving privileges (SDP). 

The DUI attorneys at Stracci Law Group can help you persuade the court to issue you specialized driving privileges. Call (219) 525-1000 or contact us online for a comprehensive evaluation. We serve clients throughout Northwest Indiana, including Crown Point, Valparaiso, and Gary.

Am I Eligible for Specialized Driving Privileges in Indiana?

On January 1, 2015, Indiana changed its driving laws to overhaul the process for obtaining specialized driving privileges. The new system makes it much easier for drivers with suspended licenses to obtain special permission to drive to work, school, medical appointments, or drop off at school.

You may be eligible for specialized driving privileges under the following circumstances:

  • Indiana has named you a Habitual Traffic Violator (HTV) for accumulating two judgments resulting in injury or death over a 10-year period.
  • Indiana has permanently suspended your driving privileges (for life).
  • Your license is subject to an administrative suspension (for failure to carry auto insurance, for example).
  • A court (rather than the BMV) has suspended your driver’s license (for OWI, for example).

Certain circumstances will render you ineligible for specialized driving privileges (see FAQ section below).

How To Apply For Specialized Driving Privileges

The procedure differs slightly depending on whether it was the BMV or a court that suspended your license. Either way, you must submit a petition featuring the following:

  • Your affirmation that the information on the petition is true;
  • Your address and date of birth;
  • The reason why you need to drive; and
  • Where you need to drive. 

You must file the petition in the court in your county. If you don’t live in Indiana, file in the county where you received your most recent moving violation. The petition must also be served on the BMV and the prosecutor. 

If a court ordered the suspension, you must file the petition with that court. The prosecutor must appear in court and argue Indiana’s position on your petition. Since a judge is entitled to turn down your petition for any reason, you are going to need a hardship license attorney experienced in criminal defense.  

Why You Need a Defense Lawyer Experienced In Obtaining Hardship Licenses

A DUI attorney can help you persuade a court to partially restore your driving privileges because DUI attorneys routinely handle SDP petitions. Our attorneys have successfully petitioned for specialized driving privileges on behalf of a multitude of clients.

Don’t try to handle your petition on your own because even a small mistake can sink your petition. It will be up to us to persuade the judge that turning down your SDP petition will cause you and your family extreme hardship.

Freedoms You Get With Specialized Driving Permits In Indiana

The grant of specialized driving privileges is not a blanket reversal of the suspension of your driving privileges. Instead, it is a partial lifting of restrictions based on your individual circumstances. It might allow you, for example, to:

  • Drive to and from work or school (a court order might even specify the route);
  • Take your children to school and pick them up after school;
  • Go to doctor’s appointments;
  • Meet with your probation officer or attend court hearings; and
  • Handle other necessary matters.

The court might require you to purchase insurance and obtain FOrm SR-22, or it might require you to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID).

How Our Lawyers At Stracci Law Group Can Help You With a Special Driver's Permit

Our specialized driver’s license lawyers can help you in many ways. If you have been charged with OWI, for example, the court will send a suspension notification to the BMV. We will quickly attempt to secure an agreement with the prosecutor to expedite the process. 

When such an agreement isn't possible, we will notify the court at (or before) your initial hearing of our intention to file a Petition for Specialized Driving Privileges. The court will schedule a hearing, at which time we will ask the court for an order permitting you to continue driving under certain conditions.

‍Let Our Lawyers Fight For Your Specialized Driving Privileges Today

Time will not wait for you - you must act decisively if you want to find out if you are eligible for specialized driving privileges. If you succeed, the news is good - under Indiana law, any grant of specialized driving privileges must last for at least 180 days, long enough to make a real difference. We might even be able to get you a waiver of reinstatement fees.

The Indiana specialized drivers license lawyers at Stracci Law Group serve clients from all over Northwest Indiana, including Crown Point, Hammond, Gary, Portage, Merrillville, and Valparaiso. Contact us today at (219) 525-1000 or complete our online contact form for a free case evaluation.

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Our Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Paul G. Stracci, the leader of our team, defended a murder case only 10 months out of law school and won a complete acquittal. He has since developed a powerful reputation as a devastatingly effective criminal trial attorney.

The Team Behind You

Michael Woods is an experienced criminal trial attorney who has handled thousands of cases ranging from simple traffic tickets to complex homicides. A deputy prosecuting attorney for nearly 10 years, Michael knows what makes a case weak or strong, and can give clients an honest and realistic evaluation of their case.

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Maryam Afshar-Stewart, a former prosecutor, has risen rapidly as a criminal defense attorney thanks to her remarkable work ethic and undying commitment to the cause of justice for her clients.

The Team Behind You

After gaining misdemeanor and felony experience in the Indianapolis criminal courts, Peter has returned home to northwest Indiana to join the accomplished trial attorneys at Stracci Law Group and further his career as a trial lawyer.


"If you got legal issues I highly recommend this company. They got me out of a jam! With all charges dropped. And reasonably priced."
Cliftin Branch, Criminal Case
"I can actually say that Paul is a GREAT LAWYER!! Takes care of business. He got a very big felony dismissed that was hovering over my life for a couple of years and stopped me from doing many things freely, He also got a Dui Dismissed as well as a few other things! My record is now clean. Thank you Paul Stracci!"
Timmy ShellToe, Criminal Case
"I just want to reach out again to thank you. I’m so incredibly grateful for all your help and hard work. We both are!! My entire family is. I could never say thank you enough. In my head, I knew that he was innocent and never intended for any of this to happen. That he was only defending himself but the fact that they charged him and put him in jail was so terrifying. From the very first time I talked to you over the phone and then came in and met you both, I knew God helped me pick the right attorneys. My son was in the very best hands he could be in. Thank you for also putting up with my constant emailing, I couldn’t help myself. I wanted you to have all of the information I had. I will forever be grateful and I will also definitely be telling anyone I know that needs an attorney to come to your firm. I will tell everyone how amazing you gentlemen are for the rest of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!"
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What common mistakes should I avoid when filing an SDP petition?

The most common mistakes are:

  • Failing to include all of the information that the petition requires
  • Listing the wrong county
  • Failing to properly serve the petition on the BMV and/or the prosecutor 
  • Failure to complete the petition under oath (where your signature guarantees the accuracy of its contents under penalty of perjury)

Dozens of other errors are possible without the assistance of an attorney

How do I know if I'm ineligible for a specialized driving permit?

You are ineligible if:

  • You have never held an Indiana driver’s license;
  • You hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL);
  • Someone died in the accident for which your license is suspended;
  • You received specialized driving privileges before, and you have more than one driving-related conviction.

What rules should I follow once I'm granted an SDP license?

Observe the following principles:

  • Above all, do not violate any traffic rules or regulations, even seat belt laws.
  • Strictly observe the terms of your specialized driving privileges. If you are allowed to drive to work on a specific route, for example, do not deviate from that route no matter how bad the traffic is.

What is the cost of an attorney to get specialized driving privileges in Indiana?

An attorney will typically charge you between $500 and $1,500, depending on your driving history. Consider the ultimate cost of failing to secure specialized driving privileges, however. This is easy to calculate if, for example, you need specialized driving privileges to make it work.